Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 in review

Every year provides its share of dazzle, amusement, and head-scratching. 2020 was no exception.


You may recall the crazy suggestion in 2019 to use cinnamon to weather armor. Well, this year we saw someone suggest using oatmeal to create water for ship models.

We also saw that the sexy women trend that we noticed in 2018 refuses to die, with numerous manufacturers releasing additional models, such as Armor35's bikini girl. At this point, I'm conceding that this is no longer a trend. It's clear that we're a horny bunch, and we're going to see more sexy women in the years ahead.


The Shizuoka Hobby Show, which had been scheduled for May, was cancelled as the Coronavirus took hold in China and other Asian countries. This would portend the cancellation of practically all model-related shows and contests through the remainder of the year.


Members of the Facebook Airfix Modeling Club worked themselves into a frenzy after Facebook began deleting photos of models with swastikas. Several members suggested creating a new forum on a different platform, but as far as I know, no one did.

Much of the world locked down for the Coronavirus, but modelers barely noticed as we carried on enjoying our solitary hobby in basements around the world. Rye Field Models kindly included two masks with orders for their kits; not wheel or canopy masks, mind you, but the kind you wear.


In one of the biggest disappointments to hit our hobby in the last 10 years — maybe even the last 20 years — Wingnut Wings announced the closure of their business. Kit prices have soared on the secondary market, and fans of the company’s kits expressed hope that some of the designers would find employment elsewhere. At least one has so far, Bryan Wall, starting Beacon Models and promising a range of kits in 1/144 scale.


Bandai announced their newest model…of a cup of ramen noodles. Yep. You can’t make this stuff up. Will we see a split in the Miscellaneous category at the IPMS Nats next year for “Food?"


A new company named Suyata releases some bizarre, abstract series of military subjects. If it entices newcomers to the hobby, why not?


In what is the most game-changing product to hit the hobby since Eduard introduced pre-colored photoetch, Quinta Studio’s released 3D-printed resin cockpit decals. Modelers were immediately impressed by their quality and the ease with which we can now represent cockpits in scale. And that’s one less skill we have to master!


Modelers went berserk on AK Interactive when they used video from POW camps to promote their new book, Condemnation: When Modeling Becomes Art and Art is Social Commentary. They apologized a day later, but the modeling community was not impressed. Regardless, the book features some well-executed dioramas.

We lost two significant players in the hobby. Bill Koster was an early pioneer in the cottage industry and helped design dozens of Monogram kits that are to this day exceptionally accurate, such as the 1/48 F-4C/D, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-100D Super Sabre, and P-51B.

Mark Bilas might not be as well known, but he produced nearly 150 decals sheets over the last 10 years, mostly in 1/72 scale, featuring roughly 900 markings. I could be wrong, but I think only Microsoft/SuperScale has been more prolific.


One of the greatest aviators of the twentieth century passed away, Chuck Yeager, capping off a year of suck.

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